Healthcare careers continue to offer extraordinary growth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests a 15% increase in healthcare employment, which equals 2.4 million positions by 2029.

The increased demand for healthcare services has helped the expansion of specialized nursing careers for registered nurses (RNs) and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs).

The emergence of multiple specializations has allowed nurses to focus on a particular practice or patients by getting work experience and meeting certain qualification requirements.

There are many career paths nurses can select, depending on their goals and passions. Some positions demand more education and training. Others provide opportunities to work with unique patients.

Here is a list of eight types of advanced nursing specialties: 

1- Clinical Nurse Specialist

The clinical nurse specialist is a graduate-level registered nurse certified in a specialty of choice. Clinical nurses specialize in providing diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing management of patients.

Clinical nurse specialists complete master’s programs in nursing (MSN) or doctorate programs (DNP). They are trained in physiology, pharmacology, and physical assessment in addition to their areas of specialty. They possess advanced nursing skills across areas such as pediatrics, geriatrics, critical or emergency care, or specific disease care.

2- Family Nurse Practitioner

Family nurse practitioners are registered nurses who are trained and specialized to work with children and adults in family practice.

They maintain patient records, perform physical exams, diagnostic tests, and prescribe medications. FNPs also treat minor acute illnesses for people of all ages.

It requires passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) exam and becoming a licensed RN to be an FNP. Also, a master’s degree (MSN) is necessary to get a job as an FNP.

An FNP can practice in a variety of health care settings. It includes community health centers, health care systems, private practice, and universities.

3- Clinical Trial Nurse

Clinical Trial Nurse specializes in assisting with clinical trials of new drugs, vaccines, and medical equipment.

Clinical trials research nurses help to form trial criteria, write standard operating procedures, evaluate research methods for efficacy. They also assist MDs or nurse practitioners with procedures related to their research and deepen collective medical understanding.

Becoming a CTN requires completing a more in-depth bachelor’s degree program in nursing at an accredited college or university. Then, it is required to pass the National Council Licensure Exam for RNs to become licensed registered nurses.

4- Mental Health Nurse

Mental health nursing or psychiatric nursing specializes in the care of individuals with mental health issues. Mental health nurses help and support them recover and improve their quality of life.

Mental illness can affect any age group, ethnic origin, or socioeconomic status. For this reason, a mental health nurse may need to work with different individuals from various backgrounds.

It is necessary to complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing and pass the board examination to become a Registered Nurse (RN). Following graduation and registration, the person may go on to complete a master’s degree or doctorate in advanced practice nursing, with a specialization in psychiatry and mental health.

5- Certified Nurse-Midwife

Certified nurse-midwives are specialized in pregnancy, prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum recovery, and reproductive care.

Nurse-midwives are licensed healthcare professionals who take care of women’s reproductive health and childbirth. In addition to attending births, they perform timely exams, provide counseling, and write prescriptions.

The first step towards CNM is to become a registered nurse. A bachelor’s degree or associate degree program approved by your State Nursing Board is required. Upon completion, you must pass the NCLEX-RN to begin practicing.

6- Nursing Informatics Specialist

It is an exciting field where nursing skills cross with technology. They are experts at data management to improve nursing practices, systems, efficiencies for better patient care and healthcare management.

Nursing Informatics specialists are the force behind the development, implementation, and optimization of electronic medical records, nursing documentation, point-of-care clinical support, and computerized practitioner order entry.

They use data and technology regularly to monitor systems, programs, and patient care initiatives.

7- Nurse Educator

Nurse educators are trained to teach nursing students in academic institutions or conduct in-hospital training.

They work as faculty members in nursing schools as well as teaching hospitals, imparting their knowledge, experience, and skills to teach the next generation of nurses. Nurse educators also work in a clinical environment.

To become nurse educators, you first need to attend college or university and earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. After obtaining a BSN degree, you must take the NCLEX-RN. After this, the graduate is eligible for licensure as a registered nurse (RN).

The next step to becoming a nurse educator is to obtain an advanced degree. It can be a Master of Science in Nursing degree, a Doctor of Nursing Philosophy, or a Doctor of Nursing Practice.

8- Nurse Researcher

Nurse researchers are highly specialized nursing professionals who assist with scientific studies, data interpretation.

They are scientists who study different aspects of health, illness, and health care.

Becoming a nurse researcher requires a Bachelor of Science in nursing. After BSN, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses to earn your nursing license. Lastly, earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or doctorate from an accredited institution.

Final Thoughts

Nursing is a vast field. Different types of nurses have unique specialties based on training and certification, whether it’s registered nurses, pediatric nurses, neonatal/NICU nurses, flight nurses, home health nurses, or advanced practice nurses.

Irrespective of the type of nursing, the most important factors in your success are getting the right education, obtaining the required certifications, and developing the soft skills to become a prospective nurse.